The Orioles selected two right-handed pitchers in the Rule 5 draft, and lost two right-handers.
With the fifth pick of the draft, the Orioles picked Mac Sceroler, a 25-year-old from the Cincinnati Reds. Sceroler, who is the nephew of Orioles broadcaster Ben McDonald, was Cincinnati’s fifth-round selection in the 2017 draft.
Sceroler has appeared in 56 games, and started 47 in three seasons, compiling a 9-16 record with a 4.07 ERA. He hasn’t pitched above High-A, where he was 5-4 with a 3.69 ERA in 26 games for Daytona Beach in 2019.
He struck out 127 batters and walked 29 in 117 innings.
In the second round, the Orioles chose Tyler Wells, a 26-year-old from the Minnesota Twins. Wells, who had Tommy John surgery in 2019, is 20-13 with a 2.82 ERA in 50 games, 46 starts, in his professional career.
Wells has pitched as high as Double-A, going 2-2 with a 1.65 ERA in six games for Chattanooga in 2018. He was the Twins’ 15th-round selection in 2016.
“Both these guys fit an attractive archetype as strike-throwing starting pitchers with a deep repertoire, ” Mike Snyder, the Orioles director of pro scouting, said in a video conference call.
“In both cases, we have excellent performance and a very appealing pitch mix. With both of these guys, we’re excited for the chance to acquire two starting pitchers who feature an impressive combination of bat-missing ability and a proclivity for throwing strikes.”
Wells’ height appeals to the Orioles.
“He’s a 6-foot-8 monster,” Snyder said. “He’s a starter who works all four quadrants of the zone with a fastball. He features two interesting breaking balls and a plus changeup.”
Unlike his uncle Ben, who was the first overall pick by the Orioles in 1989 from Louisiana State University, Sceroler went to Southeastern Louisiana.
“Regardless of the family connection, we would have made the pick, anyway,” Snyder said. “That said, anytime that there’s big-league bloodlines, it does give us comfort that the player has a little bit better feel for what to expect, how to carry himself, what it takes to succeed at the big league level.”
The Orioles’ 40-man roster is now full.
The Orioles lost Zach Pop, who had Tommy John surgery in May 2019, to the Arizona Diamondbacks with the sixth pick. Arizona traded him to Miami for a player to be named later.
Pop was part of the trade that sent Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July 2018.
Gray Fenter, whose career has also been affected by injury, was selected by the Chicago Cubs.
“It’s unfortunate both those guys were taken,” Snyder said. “They both have good potential. We talked about [protecting] both of them. We talked about others. This is really a testament to having a deep system. We added six prospects [to the 40-man roster] in the offseason. We added a seventh in the regular season, in Bruce Zimmermann.
“Ultimately, you can’t protect them all. It’s a positive in that we’re making strides that this is a relevant topic of conversation right now. We’ll be rooting for them, but we’ll also cross our fingers and hope that the teams that selected them, that they’re not able to carry them all season and that we can get them back at some point in 2021.”
In the Triple-A draft, the Orioles drafted right-handed reliever Rickey Ramirez from the Twins’ organization. He has allowed just four home runs and struck out 98 in 99 professional innings.
They also chose catcher Chris Hudgins from the Royals’ organization and right-handed pitcher Ignacio Feliz from the Padres.
“We’re just trying to add as much talent as possible,” Kent Qualls, Orioles director of minor league operations, said. “We’re really excited about these guys. It was a deeper than normal minor league phase of the draft. We picked three, and a lot of the names that we were on were taken ahead of us in our second pick.”